This week I was going to write a post about goals for 2023, but truthfully, I have never been much of a goal-setter or a New Year's resolution type of person. While I do think that the holidays and the dawning of a new year are a good time to be reflective and inward-thinking, the reality is that we don't need a figurative line in the sand to make a change in our lives.
That said, I did enter last year with some goals for racing and track driving, and I didn't accomplish most of them. Looking back, though, I can rightfully say that it was a good year for my driving, in which I learned quite a bit. As a time trial driver, I learned a lot about pushing hard early in a session, when the car and tires are fresh. As an aspiring wheel to wheel racer, I learned about race craft, both theoretical (discussing with friends) and simulated (iRacing). As a mechanic, I learned more about chassis setup and alignments, and with on-track testing got to experience how those changes transformed my E30's handling.
What I expect or hope to get out of 2023 is still unclear to me. There are some exciting prospects ahead, such as competing in Spec E9X and GridLife Touring Cup, but I have yet to figure out a clear path to achieve those goals.
If the title of this article sounded vaguely familiar to you, it might be because I wrote about motivation 2 months ago, and I am unhappy to report that it hasn't changed much. If anything, my motivation to work on my cars has only gotten lower.
No One Cares
I read an article last week that really struck a chord with me. The article was titled When is Enough, Enough? However, I took the article as an introspective on what motivates us, and why anything we do with our silly cars matters at all. Namely, it was this paragraph that stood out to me:
I want to let you know that, overall, no one cares. That’s right – that championship you’re chasing, that lap record, that sub 1:40 at Gingerman Raceway?? No one cares. In fact, let’s experiment. Who won the championship in the class you raced in two years ago? How about the class your buddy races in? Who set the track record around Gingerman in Unlimited RWD? Don’t Google it. No one cares. So you better make sure you’re doing it for you. If not, it’s just an expensive way to get a sub-$100 trophy and put ‘racecar driver’ in your Facebook bio.
Excerpt quoted from from S3Mag, author: Devin Giles, December 30th, 2022. Link to article.
That paragraph alone was pretty convicting. I don't think that I had asked myself in a while why I'm doing this, and to what end. I've been saying for a while that I need to find a shop that can help me with my cars, because I really don't feel like touching them most of the time. However, I've done very little to actually make that happen.
I've realized that by writing the words here, and telling my friends that I am going to start paying a shop to maintain my cars, that I was probably subconsciously hoping someone would reach out or help me make a connection. But the reality is just that: nobody cares. Now, that might sound nihilistic, but it's true. Auto racing is a self-serving and for the most part, solo endeavor.
If I'm not out there doing the work myself, or figuring out how to get from where I am to where I want to be, then nobody else is going to do it for me.
Deadlines & Urgency
I've been a procrastinator in every aspect of my life for as long as I can remember. It's probably genetic or something like that, but I feel like I work better under at least some pressure. Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?
With cars, its the same story. With 6 weeks between events, the car will sit untouched for 5. Then I'll be so stressed trying to get everything together the week of the event.
This is why I was very specific in stating that RISING EDGE will publish weekly on Thursdays. If I hadn't done that, then I'd post very sporadically and on a whim, kind of like my social media.
In my teens and 20's, I was pretty good about making-up and self-imposing deadlines to create a sense of urgency. It wasn't really necessary, but in a lot of situations, it was an effective way to motivate myself. I don't like the feeling of registering for an event before I know the car is ready, but sometimes it just has to be done in order to get me in the garage to prep the car.
The flip side of forced-deadlines is the guilt that comes when they are missed. I thought I'd have gotten my competition license using my kinda-new caged E30 (I've owned it almost a year) by last summer or fall, but I haven't even driven the car yet. I'm admittedly kind of down about that.
I don't even know if my problems will be solved by outsourcing car work to a race shop. It will require a great deal of trust and patience.
Even if I had the money, I wouldn't have been ready to take this step even a few years ago. I think that having kids has helped me mature and grow in my patience and grace when working with others. I know that in the past, I've been a nightmare client with some people/companies that I have worked with on a professional level (too picky, too impatient, too cheap...).
I don't want to be that way with a race shop, but it's something that I need to recognize in myself and be up front with them when we are working on an agreement for long-term services. I guess that's a maturity thing, too: recognizing your own faults and weaknesses. Hopefully improving them along the way, but at least being up front and honest about them.
I'm really not sure if my motivation to work on cars will return. I'm not even sure if it will work out the way I hope it will to have a race shop do the work. I just know that it's worth giving it a try, because I definitely:
- Want to be at the track with my friends, and
- Want to drive fast, and have fun.
In the mean time, I've been making an effort to reach out to race shops and see what options I have, which for now is good enough for me. It feels nice knowing that I'm not just shouting into the void and hoping something will change. It will take action and effort in order to make a change, and at least I'm finally taking the first steps.
I wish I had some advice or results to share in this article, but this is very much an ongoing transition for me as I figure out what's next for me with cars and driving. This is the progression of a hobby that I've been into [on and off] for 2 decades now. Maybe you feel the same way, or maybe you have in the past. Maybe it will be a decade before you feel this way. Nevertheless, it's part of a cycle, and I will continue to share my experiences as I figure it out for myself!